Agents: Inside Elite Model Look

At the Elite Model Look competition, agents from the Elite network fly in from around the world to meet the Finalists, and have a say in the judging process. In our series meeting the people behind the competition, we talk to agents Elena Mansueto and Ruggero Quarta from Elite Milan, Bella Robinson from Elite London and Evane Boulanger from Elite Paris.

Photo © Luc Braquet

Elena Mansueto, Head of Womens Division at Elite Milan

We are very happy to host the World Final for 2017 in Milan is great to see everybody in our city,  our Italian clients can see how important our contest is. Elite Model Look is a big source of new talent for our network, and we are looking for girls that can become top models in the long term. Except for measurements and age that we have regulations, there’s not a specific look we are looking for. Of course, we think about the requests from our clients, they are source of inspiration, but the Winner could be also totally unexpected and be a new trend for the market. We are always open to surprises. For me, it's about personality, passion, dedication, self-discipline. That’s what makes the difference.


I got into the model industry after high school, I did an interview through a family connection in a model agency. I was always attracted by fashion and modelling as well. The best thing about my job is about relations that you can start with a lot of people, all ages worldwide. The challenge is to discover promising talents, when they don’t catch the eye of talent scouts, because they might have an unconventional look, and to guide them to achieve global success. If someone reading this wants to become a model agent one day, I’d advise them to develop a good sense of patience, because this industry is about being good at working with people, especially new models who are very young. They should have knowledge of the fashion, about fashion brands, photographers, and the whole industry.

Bella Robinson, New Faces Agent at Elite London

I am excited and proud to be a part of Elite Model Look, it is such a renowned competition. We have a great network with a brilliant calibre of models. It’s exciting to see that much talent in one room, to watch and help them grow. In the Finalists, I’m looking for hard work and professionalism – the modelling industry is fast-paced so you have to be the hardest working, most polite and charming model you can be. It’s important to be more than your looks, learn how to move and know your clients. These are the girls who succeed, those who know the industry and where they want to be.


My job as an agent at Elite London is fast paced and I’m always busy, talking with clients, sending them pictures of the models, managing different jobs for each model, working with the girls we have in town, organising test shoots to build the models’ books, teaching the models to walk, how to be professional and making sure they are happy and safe! Before I was an agent, I worked in production, and then in casting. I like being part of the New Face team, it’s about getting them started, and seeing them grow into full-time Elite girls makes me really proud! Having a good team helps, and the team at Elite London are the best!


If you want to be a model agent, you need to work hard! You have to know your industry inside and out. You really live and breathe it. You are always on emails, to support the girls. The most important thing is organization. I always taught myself to always work as hard as possible, having a strong work ethic and being able to remain calm is always important. And you should always love what you do!

Photo © Luc Braquet

Ruggero Quarta, Head of Mens Division at Elite Milan

I feel very honoured that the World Final is in Milan where I am based. At Elite Model Look, I am looking for something unique, handsome, but not common. The personality is very important: I have to understand their potential because the Finalists are not models yet. I have to understand them to know if inside there what it takes to create a star. It’s important to see the Finalists in the competition - I can better understand their competitive side, the competition prepares them for future challenges. Personality and professionality are key to being a good model. Having the right look is not enough, it’s necessary to have a strong character and to understand immediately that modelling is a very hard job.


I love being an agent, every day is different and I’m never alone because model agents work as a team. It’s amazing when you propose a new model to a client and see him doing a worldwide campaign in the following season. If someone wants to work in fashion as a model agent, I’d say that just because it has a glamourous image doesn’t mean you’ll have fun all the time, but it also takes a lot of commitment and sacrifice!

Photo © Mathieu Rainaud

Evane Boulanger, Head of New Faces at Elite Paris

Elite Model Look is about finding personality in the models. This competition is a privilege for the Finalists, they learn how to be a professional. It helps us as agents to meet the Finalists, and make a plan for their development. Development is the best part of managing a career, you have the chance to get to know the girl, to see her improve. The best part is to launch her on her very first job, it’s a moment of truth. When they go mainboard, it’s a continuation of what has been done before, and hopefully the girls keep growing to get to the next level.


Development starts with getting to know the girl. Some girls need more time before they begin, some are ready to be launched during fashion week already. We start with test shoots, so the girls learn how to work with people. After, we review the pictures together to see what she can improve. At the agency, we teach them how to catwalk. When she is ready, we contact the clients. It’s also important for the girl to become independent in the city where she is being developed, to be able to go to castings, and especially to learn English.


I always loved models, so it was natural I became an agent. Before that, I was booking assistant, to learn the rules of being a model agent. I’d advise people who want to become agents to assist on any part of the fashion industry - with stylists, photographers, casting directors, art directors, PR agents, models. This way, you understand the industry and what is needed from a model agent.


I love it when you know the background of some girls, and all of a sudden, they have the chance to become a model, and then everything in their life changes – for the better! You need confidence to model – for that, you need to be open to the world, travel and have new and reaching experiences. 

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